CEO-Transfer at WeTransfer as Gordon Willoughby takes over from Bas Beerens



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A big shake-up is taking place at the top management level of one of the most successful Dutch startups. WeTransfer-Founder and CEO Bas Beerens will step back from day-to-day operations as Gordon Willoughby will take the Dutchman’s place in January. Beerens will remain active as Executive Chairman.

U.S. Expansion plans

Willoughby is transferring across from Amazon where he has been part of senior management for the last 8 years. Prior to Amazon the Oxford University Economics graduate worked at eBay. The new CEO will also move from London to Amsterdam for the role. The business-savvy Brit is stepping in at a dynamic and critical time for the file transfer service, as it recently opened its first US office in L.A. last September. The number of users as well as the volume of files they send through the company’s file transfer service has now grown to 100 million monthly users transferring one billion files per month. WeTransfer also re-branded its website and logo recently with a new identity and a rebuilt platform, which is more community-focused and offers more user features.


International Business Heavyweight

While the move comes as a surprise to many, for Beerens it makes perfect sense to make way for an internationally experienced heavyweight: “I am so proud to have built up WeTransfer from a small start-up to a company with 100 million monthly users and offices in Amsterdam and Los Angeles. However, building a start-up is something completely different from the daily operations of leading a company with nearly 80 employees. I am a creative at heart and now seems like the right time for a business heavyweight to take over from me in the daily operations of running and scaling this company”. Both the departing and the arriving CEO have written detailed blogs in which they share their excitement about the leadership transition.


With the departure of Beerens it is a good moment to look back at some of the milestones WeTransfer has achieved in the past years. In February 2015 the company received a whopping € 25M in funding, practically unheard of for any Dutch startup. In September 2015 WeTransfer made it into Troy Carter’s prestigious Smashdlabs accelerator, that also invested in Dropbox, Uber and Spotify, just to name a few. Just this September Bas Beerens won the LOEY Award for the Best Online Entrepreneur in the Netherlands. With a US Office and a British CEO WeTransfer may not really be a Dutch company anymore, but there’s no way the proud people of the Netherlands are going to transfer their bragging rights across anytime soon.


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The editorial team of Silicon Canals brings you technology news from the European startup ecosystem. 

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